Depression and Pregnancy

by Alan Greene, MD FAAP

Can emotional upset harm my baby?

People often think of pregnancy as a special time when women feel biologically complete and insulated from the sadness in the surrounding world. And it is special...

The truth is, though, that the rates of depression in pregnant and non-pregnant women are very similar. From this you know that you are not alone, and that many women have gone through difficult times while pregnant, shed many tears, and had healthy, wonderful babies at the end.

Still, ongoing full-blown depression can sometimes affect a developing baby, both directly and through inadequate nutrition. The risks are small, but real. Thankfully, there are safe treatments for pregnant women. Whether you need treatment or not, the outlook for your baby is good.

When there are major emotional storms during pregnancy, it is wise to stay in close touch with both an obstetrician and a psychiatrist. You deserve their support and their help in navigating this journey.

Today is a beautiful spring day where I am. As I feel the warmth of the sun, I am hoping that you find moments of sunshine and wildflowers to warm your heart.

You and your little baby are so closely linked. You do shield your baby from most of what happens outside. You surround your baby with love and with the perfect hug. And your baby hugs you, inside, where you need it the most.

Life is bittersweet. But you face it together.

Dr. Alan GreeneDr. Alan Greene, author of Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Greene, is the founder of Dr.Greene.com and the WhiteOut Movement. He is a frequent guest on such shows as Good Morning America, The Today Show, and the Dr. Oz Show. He is on the Board of Directors of Healthy Child Healthy World and The Lunchbox Project. Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician at Stanford University's Packard Children's Hospital.

Copyright &copy Greene Ink, Inc., all rights reserved. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org. Reviewed by Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin M.D. & Stephanie D'Augustine M.D. September 28, 2008.